Amy’s sayings #3

This is a series on how to run a business without micromanaging your staff. These are phrases they should hear in their head when the situation it applies to arises. In the first post of this series, I explained We’ll get fired if a client can’t print, but we won’t keep a client because they can print. The second post covered Don’t make a plan based on the exception.

Do I really need to know that?

Today we tackle the busy business owner, busy bookkeeper, busy tech’s most useful phrase in prioritizing information flow. “Do I really need to know that?” It’s not possible to count the number of times I use this phrase. I use it so much that I just found myself including it in an article I wrote for Quest on taming the flood of alerts that come from MCAS.

This phrase protects you from information overload. Today’s business environment can generate information with ease but most of it isn’t useful. I created this phrase in the early days of RMM tools where they were touted as sending me an alert when a user’s hard drive was full. My phrase was then born. Do I really need to know that? My customer will call before I find the time to review that alert. And so my quest to reduce information clutter was born.

On the accounting side of the business, information overload happens there too. QuickBooks lets me break out 250 categories in my chart of accounts. We occasionally bump into that and QuickBooks want to upsell me; instead, I want to downsize them. Simple is better. That’s not to say that I don’t want information from QuickBooks, I definitely do, but I want the information I need not the information that QuickBooks wants to sell me or the information that is recommended by third party MSP experts. I want to know our progress is meeting certain goals that I have for the business and I want to track percentage growth in over broad categories. So, we move things around to provide just the information that we want and no more.

To me this is just like the wave that flowed over America when Marie Kondo asked homeowners buried in clutter whether an item brought them joy. I use much the same method when considering whether a piece of information is useful. Do I really need to know that? If the answer is no, the solution isn’t just to toss it aside and move on. It’s to stop the information from being generated and crossing my path ever again.

Adopt, Do I really need to know that, and you’ll find that the clarity you have on everything in your business will improve.

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